Thirty-minute meals are oh-so-necessary in my life.
And when it comes to finding strategies for getting through the week, easy recipes are everything to me.
I don’t know about you, but with the beginning of each new season, I start to think about whether my dinner menu rotation has gotten boring.
More times than not, I decide it definitely has.
That’s how I am feeling right now, at least. I have had the same recipes on repeat, but now that there is a new season of flavors to celebrate, I know I can easily switch things up.
The key to mastering a weekly dinner menu is to vary your flavors, but also keep those recipes simple and easy. Whether you are making the most of your Crock-Pot or Instant Pot, or perhaps you just want to whip up something quick over the stove, there are endless options to choose from.
If you love your carbs, quick pasta dishes are essential. Spaghetti alla carbonara, with its dreamy combo of bacon, egg, and cheese, is a mainstay dinner at my house.
And when autumn arrives, you’ll want to try this new recipe. Welcome to the best fall pasta dish of your life.
I know, that sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but I can promise you that it isn’t. When it comes to a recipe that is as rich and creamy as this one, you will wholeheartedly agree with me the moment that you take your first bite.
Warming up with this dish is one of those experiences I want to embrace every single week.
The recipe does require a bit of multitasking, but it’s basic multi-tasking, so anyone can master this recipe the first time they make it.
While the sauce is simmering away, you can quickly fry up the sage leaves for the garnish at the same time. It all comes together in a flash, and you won’t be disappointed when it does.
I adore this recipe because of the rich flavors in the creamy sauce. The pumpkin and sage are natural flavor partners at this time of year, and they are very bold. Combined with the salty Parmesan cheese and heavy cream, the sauce is rich and luscious.
The addition of the crispy fried sage leaves on top provides a final variation in texture that brings an added burst of herbaceous freshness.
I like to also serve this with a nice bottle of oaky wine, like a chardonnay or even a crisp sauvignon blanc. The richness of the cream sauce needs a lighter wine to balance out the flavors without overwhelming your palate.
That’s why I wouldn’t try to pair it with a rich red wine, as this choice might take over the flavor profile, and you will lose those subtle notes in the cream sauce.
If you like to host dinner parties, this is a fantastic meal to whip out because it’s simple to make, and virtually stress free.
The recipe makes four with big, hearty servings, but you can also make it a side to a main protein entree if you would like. Read more on that option at the end of the article.
But first, the recipe!Print
Dress up your pasta for the season, and add our deliciously creamy Pumpkin Sage Sauce to your weekly menu rotation this fall.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Retain 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid for later use before draining well and returning pasta to the pot.
- Combine cream, pumpkin puree, Parmesan, sage, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup of the pasta water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until melted.
- While the sauce is simmering, fry the sage leaves for garnish. Add oil to a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add sage leaves. Fry for about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Remove from oil and set on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Pour sauce over cooked pasta and stir to combine. If needed, you can add the remaining reserved pasta water in to adjust the consistency as desired. Serve immediately, with a few fried sage leaves and additional Parmesan sprinkled on top of each bowl.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: fall, cream sauce, 30-minute meals, pumpkin, sage
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Grate Cheese and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Grate 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish.
Measure all remaining ingredients as listed in the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Cook Pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Note that you can substitute gluten free pasta if needed.
Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid before draining the pasta in a colander and returning it to the pot.
Step 3 – Make Sauce
While the pasta is cooking, add cream, pumpkin puree, Parmesan, ground sage, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and the 1/3 cup of the reserved cooking liquid to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened. This should take about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add butter.
Step 4 – Fry Sage Leaves
Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add sage leaves.
Fry for about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, until crisp but not browned. Remove from oil to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Step 5 – Finish Pasta
When the sauce is done cooking, add it to the pasta in the pot. Stir to coat well.
If needed, you can add the remaining reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency.
Serve immediately with a few fried sage leaves and additional Parmesan sprinkled on top.
Can This Also Be Served as a Side?
I actually love to serve this dish as a side for a bigger dinner party. It goes really well with white wine braised chicken thighs, or even pork tenderloin.
It’s a great idea to serve this particular pasta dish a side with your protein entree because of how rich and creamy it is.
Whether you want to incorporate more meat into your diet, or you want to simply cut down on the amount of carbs you are ingesting in one meal, serving smaller side portions of this dish is a simple, yet satisfying, solution.
If you’re craving even more pumpkin, from breakfast to dessert, check out our full archive of recipes here. For another savory dish to make for dinner, our creamy Pumpkin Kamut with Pecorino and Hazelnuts will be a fall favorite!
Looking forward to your next pasta night? Here are some more ideas:
- Linguine with Clam Sauce
- Rigatoni and Asparagus with a Balsamic Reduction
- Pasta with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese
How will you serve this autumnal fare? Tell us in the comments below, and come back to rate the recipe once you try it at home.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 31, 2011. Last updated: October 29, 2020 at 6:52 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.